Deaf Judges - All Rise


White hip hop. Ok, so that’s more than half of you already running for the hills. Sadly for them, Deaf Judges aren’t that bad, although they’re not exactly Beastie Boys good either. The rhymes are there, the beats are there and it’s so very plainly obvious that these guys truly fucking MEAN it. The passion flows from their mouths and out of your subwoofer in waves - this is certainly no novelty act - but to be honest they could do with letting a bit of fun into their lives for a while. Like I said, the rhymes are there, but there are no hooks. Everything’s so serious and while that’s commendable, it makes for something that’s not entirely accessible. You’ll not find a chorus worthy of the name here and although the judges deliver what they do with verve, passion and style they simply don’t give you, or themselves, enough time to have fun. Even NWA managed to give you that and they were some very angry young gentlemen spitting into microphones.


The crown in Deaf Judges’ jewels is Cubenza, who’s trawled through some rare record shops and has pulled together a host of really interesting jazz, disco and electronic samples together. He lays down a really classy, funky platform for the three guys to spit venom over the top and it’s his work that makes the album worth spinning. In the end though, they kind of outstay their welcome somewhat. Fifteen tracks is ambitious and great value for money but sadly the album is way too long because everything’s so one dimensional. Sure the samples are from all over the place, but these guys seem to have only one setting and that’s simply not enough to take the album from something interesting to something memorable. It’s obvious they’ve got the talent but they have got to loosen up a bit. Deaf Judges they may be, but if they don’t add a little fun into their sound, then people will very quickly become deaf to them. Which would be a shame, really.


Words: Damian Leslie